Public Policy: State
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Since 1900, the Jewish United Fund/Jewish Federation of Chicago has provided assistance to metropolitan Chicago residents of all ages and faiths so that all can reach their potential. Last year, our network of more than 70 agencies provided health care, human services, and education to more than 500,000 people.
The Jewish United Fund is the central fundraising arm of Chicago’s Jewish community, allocating more than $190 million annually to local Jewish Federation affiliates and agencies overseas including in Israel. But we do not work alone. Government is a critical partner. In 2018, more than $400 million in federal, state, and local funding expanded our ability to help many attain, maintain, and regain their well-being.
Our partnership works best when we collaborate with elected officials and government administrators around public policies, funding, and regulations. Jewish community leaders and professionals work together to promote an agenda that builds a robust health care and human service infrastructure and safe communities.
- Ensuring Access To Health Care Through Medicaid And Medicare
Recognizing that quality health care is an essential foundation for a productive life, Jewish Federation affiliates provide inpatient and outpatient health care, long term care, rehabilitation, respite, personal care, and other services to people of all ages and incomes. We advocate for policies that support affordable, high quality health services for all and oppose efforts to weaken the system through eliminating Medicaid expansion, block-granting Medicaid, or reducing Medicare benefits.
- Integrating People With Disabilities In Community Life
Implementing a vision of inclusion, Jewish Federation affiliates expand opportunities for people with disabilities to engage fully in community life by providing educational support, housing, job training, synagogue participation, and community-based care. We oppose institutionalization, which blocks participation, seeking instead people-centered government programs and policies for adults and youth with disabilities such as supportive housing and vocational opportunities.
- Building Supports So Older Adults Can Live Healthy Lives Safely In Settings Of Their Choice
Our network provides a range of care including transportation, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, adult day care, respite for family caregivers, home delivered meals, Holocaust survivor services, in-home care management, and housing options ranging from independent apartments to assisted living to rehabilitation and long-term care. Using lessons learned from innovative programs, we advocate for a community care program that meets the needs of a rapidly growing population of older adults and for funding which supports quality long-term care for older people of all incomes.
- Educating And Caring For Children And Youth Including Those With Special Needs
Jewish Federation affiliates provide a robust range of early childhood development, after-school care, recreation, camps, and after-school and educational programs for all. For those with special emotional and behavioral needs or who have encountered neglect, abuse, and violence, Jewish Federation steps in with additional programs like counseling, family respite, residential care, a K–12 therapeutic day school, and specially designed camps and day programs. Relying on research, which points to programs that save on future costs, we advocate for government investments in early intervention, anti-bullying, autism, and many other programs for children and youth.
- Helping Those Confronted By Mental Health And Substance Use Issues Transform Their Lives
Jewish Federation affiliates provide inpatient crisis care, education, counseling, and referrals for people with mental health and substance use issues. Rebuilding the broken infrastructure of government funded programs for people with mental health and substance use disorders is a priority shared by all of our affiliates. At the same time, because we recognize that government programs target only the most economically vulnerable, we also promote behavioral health parity in the private health insurance market.
- Providing Health Care And Human Services State Policy Agenda 2019 Strengthening The Relationship Between Illinois And Israel
Jewish Federation supports further enhancing the deep academic, business, investment and cultural connections between Illinois and Israel; these connections add hundreds of millions in revenues for Illinois companies and thousands of jobs for Illinoisans. Relatedly, Federation closely works with the State’s Pension Investment Policy Board to ensure implementation of the Illinois anti-BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) law. We oppose the delegitimization of Israel and support a two-state solution for peace in the Middle East.
- Safeguarding The Jewish Community And Other Communities From Violence, Hate, And Terrorism
Creating environments that are safe and nurturing for everyone is essential to individual and community well-being. We address key contributors to unsafe environments including anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. We provide services to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. We speak out for free speech that is protected from disruptive behavior in all public forums including on university campuses. Our advocacy includes support for human rights, gun safety and anti-hate crime legislation. We also advocate for government policies that protect people hurt by sexual violence, human trafficking, and elder abuse.
- Welcoming Immigrants And Refugees
With a long and proud history of providing health care and social services to immigrants and refugees, we support government policies that help refugees integrate into life in the United States and bipartisan immigration policies, which are humane and uphold our values as a nation of immigrants, while also protecting our national security and interests.
- Expanding The Capacity Of Nonprofit Organizations Through Promoting Charitable Giving Incentives And Commonsense Governance Policies
Thriving communities depend on the robust health care and human services infrastructure provided primarily by non-profit health care and human service institutions. We advocate for the best ways to promote charitable giving and regulate nonprofit institutions.
- Expanding Education Opportunities
We build roads to learning for all throughout the life cycle, including full-day preschools and after school programs, a therapeutic day school for public school students unable to learn within traditional school settings, vocational training, a network of private day schools, and institutions of higher learning. Key to this are government policies which support quality education without unnecessary regulations.